ABYC hosts invasive-species summit in Vegas

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The American Boat and Yacht Council hosted an Aquatic Invasive Species Summit Jan. 27-28 in Las Vegas to explore the role of boat design and construction as it regards invasive species.

The conference centered on watercraft, trailers and boating's role in preventing the spread of AIS, and ways to mitigate the impact of recreational and commercial vessels.

The event brought boatbuilders, AIS managers and other groups together for the first time.

“The summit opened a lot of eyes to the multitude of solutions that can be used to slow, stop and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species," Marine Retailers Association of the Americas president Matt Gruhn said in a statement. "ABYC is to be commended."

The issue is a serious concern at the state and federal levels.

“It's invaluable to get AIS managers talking with the boat industry," said Craig Martin, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service branch chief. "It will help us to better manage invasive species spread risks."

Participants were provided with different perspectives on AIS and a new understanding of the issues facing each other's groups. All were looking forward to collaborating on mitigation strategies.

Conclusions and action items resulted. Minutes will be available on the ABYC website in March.

ABYC president John Adey led the summit and breakout session.

The moderators were Gruhn; Robert Newsome, National Marine Manufacturers Association director of engineering standards; Denny Salas, Water Sports Industry Association executive director; and Susan Shingledecker, BoatUS Foundation vice president and director of environmental programs.

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